The Calgary Flames will say goodbye to their captain later today. Jarome Iginla, the face of the Flames franchise and team’s top player in goals and points, officially agreed to a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins last night. The agreement is a mutually beneficial arrangement that allows Iginla to join a Stanley Cup contending team while providing the Flames with young prospects and a 2013 first round draft pick to help the team rebuild.
The Flames struggled in recent years, and particularly within this shortened season, to become the same championship contender from years past. The team roster is lead by a core group of veterans who lead Calgary to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2004, and subsequent playoff appearances in the next four seasons. However, as the leaders reach the latter stages of their careers, the backbone of the team is no longer capable of displaying the depth they once did.
Iginla is one of the most loyal players to the Calgary Flames franchise, and even his decision to waive his no-trade clause was in the best interests of his beloved team. The Flames are expected to honour his history with the team by officially retiring his Number 12 jersey. Iginla is no longer a point per game player, but he remains one of the strongest right wingers in the league, who is capable of playing on both sides of the ice. The trade to Pittsburgh also reunites Iginla with his former Team Canada teammate Sidney Crosby. Iginla set Crosby up for the game-winning goal that allowed Canada to capture the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The former Calgary captain is likely to have one of the best opportunities at winning the Stanley Cup with the move to Pittsburgh. Sports bettors and hockey analysts label the Penguins as one of the main contenders for the Cup, and many online sportsbetting forums bet on a showdown between the Penguins from the East and the Chicago Blackhawks from the West for the Stanley Cup Final. Both teams sit at the top of their conferences and have displayed impressive depth that is necessary for a team to become champions.
Iginla is expected to play his first game as a Penguin in Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders.